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10 Kid-Friendly New Year's Eve Party Ideas

New Year's Eve is often thought of as a night of upscale parties and adult libations, but that doesn't mean families can't have a blast ringing in the new year all together. Check out these ten New Year's Eve activity and refreshment ideas that are fun for the whole family:

Hold an Early Countdown

Midnight might be a little too late for younger kids to stay up, especially if you want to avoid dealing with cranky, sleep-deprived kids the next day. Instead, stage a mock countdown at a more reasonable bedtime. This can double as a fun way to teach kids about time zones. Make it more fun by incorporating a symbolic activity like staging your own "ball drop" at home or lighting sparklers while counting down to the New Year. As a bonus, once the kids are in bed, you can crack open a bottle of champagne or your other favorite adult beverage to indulge a little bit with the grown-ups of the group.

Make a Ball Drop Piñata

The Times Square Ball Drop is an event many people associate with the big night. You can reinvent some of the fun for your family by making a miniature glitter ball of your own. Turning it into a piñata makes it even more fun for the kids—and the adults! To make a ball drop piñata, cover an inflated balloon in papier mâché, leaving a small gap at the top. Allow it to dry completely before popping the balloon and removing it. Decorate the outside with strips of tin foil, silver glitter paint, sequins, or any other shiny bling you like. Fill it with candy and small toys then hang it from the ceiling with string or fishing line. The piñata ball will sparkle festively until midnight when family members can take turns swinging at it until it breaks.

Make a Wish Tree

Rather than make New Year’s resolutions, make a wish tree instead. Start with a small potted indoor tree or even a cluster of clean branches arranged in a nice vase. Prepare paper slips measuring one inch by four inches and punch a hole at one side. Have your family members write wishes, goals, and hopes for the New Year on these strips of paper and attach them like leaves to the branches with loops of string. These wishes can be anything from personal aspirations to hopes about how the world will be a year from now.

Prepare a Kid-Friendly Toast

Toasting to the New Year doesn't have to be an adults-only activity. Prepare a special fizzy drink for the kids by pouring sparkling grape juice or cider into a fancy champagne flute or other special glass. You could also mix up a “mocktail” or virgin version of any cocktail you're serving to the adults—just be sure not to confuse them!

Open Small Packages Each Hour

Having simple activities to do each hour leading up to the New Year will keep the kids engaged and make the night special. Pack simple paper bags with small treats, toys, or games that kids can entertain themselves with and look forward to opening each hour. You might include a small coloring book and crayons, puzzles, balloon animal kits, or dollar store toys. This is a great solution for keeping younger kids quietly entertained while the adults let loose around them.

Have a Pajama Party

Part of the fun of New Year's Eve is staying up past your bedtime. Turning it into a family slumber party makes it feel even more special. Have everyone wear their most comfortable fuzzy pajamas and build a fort in the living room using pillows, cushions, and blankets. Cozy up with a movie marathon or indulge in family-friendly versions of popular sleepover games like “Truth or Dare."

Make a Popcorn Bar

No party is complete without snacks. New Year's Eve has fewer specific holiday foods associated with it than other holidays so don't be afraid to experiment. One super fun idea is to make a self-service popcorn bar. Pop large bowls of popcorn and arrange them on a table with different toppings and mix-ins like M&Ms, chocolate chips, nuts, cinnamon-sugar, cheese powder, and herb blends. Provide personal bowls or paper containers that partygoers can fill with popcorn, and encourage people to mix-and-match flavors for unique combinations.

Have a Family Makeover Night

New Year's is time for a "new you," and your family can get in on the fun by having a pampering spa night at home. If you have daughters, they're sure to be especially excited at the prospect of doing mom's hair or having dad let them paint his toenails. Look up a few DIY beauty recipes for facial masks or foot soaks, and pick up several bright shades of nail polish for a fun and silly way to spend an evening.

Have a Game Night

New Year's Eve is a great night to bring the family together around the kitchen table to play games while snacking. You can make it competitive by holding a board game tournament in which a special prize is awarded to the winner. You could also take this opportunity to teach the kids a few card games and/or tricks. Poker chips that can be redeemed for special prizes or snacks add an edge of fun and mischief to the night.

Get Out of the House

A change of scenery can be exactly what you need to turn your holiday into a memorable occasion. Many restaurants and event venues offer family-friendly festivities you can enjoy without the hassle of having to put something together yourself. If you'd rather avoid driving home late at night, book a holiday stay at a hotel. You can enjoy the amenities, and the kids are sure to be fascinated by the novelty of staying somewhere new.

If you're still looking for a place to ring in the New Year with your family, book a spacious villa at Welk Resorts before the countdown begins.

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